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SSEN launches £350,000 resilience fund to support community coronavirus response


By Kirsty Brown

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A new £350,000 fund to support communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic is now open for applications.

Due to the significant impact on communities from the coronavirus outbreak, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has repurposed its annual Resilient Communities Fund to offer grants of up to £3,000 for projects that will specifically support community members in vulnerable situations.

Applications are being encouraged for projects that will provide extra help to those who are self-isolating or social shielding, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

Examples include a social delivery service, online advice centres or a befriending scheme.

The fund is open to community councils in SSEN’s north of Scotland network area, which covers the area north of the central belt including Scotland’s islands.

The initial funding round will close on April 30, with additional rounds to open based on demand.

Grant awards will be issued in early May to ensure timely release of funding to community groups.

In the event the fund is oversubscribed, the panel will give priority to applications which support communities that are particularly remote or isolated, contain high levels of vulnerability or low levels of resilience.

SSEN’s managing director Colin Nicol hopes the fund will make a difference as communities rally together to support those most in need.

He said: “In keeping the power flowing, safely and reliably, SSEN will play an integral role in the communities we serve during the coronavirus pandemic.

"As a responsible business, we believe this role also extends to supporting communities in their own response to the crisis.

“Following positive consultation with stakeholders and independent community fund panel members, we are delighted to relaunch our Resilient Communities Fund to help fund community resilience projects that will help those most in need.

“It’s encouraging to see communities pulling together at this time and we are pleased to play a small part in that response.

"I’d call on all local community council representatives to apply for a grant where they think we can help.”

Scottish Government’s resilient communities policy manager Kerry Jardine said: “The SSEN Resilient Communities Fund provides a significant resource for communities to enhance their resilience to the challenges that are important to them.

“Groups throughout Scotland are currently focussing their energy on supporting their communities through the risk and restrictions that Covid-19 is presenting.

"We are seeing communities all over Scotland come together to develop their resilience to these challenges.

“This fund can be used to support community groups in their immediate activities and thinking ahead to their community recovering and building on their resilience to future challenges.”

Since its launch in 2015, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund has provided over £2.4 million to 362 local community projects to build resilience and protect those most vulnerable.

The criteria for this year’s fund was changed following consultation with SSEN stakeholder groups, who strongly supported opening the fund early and targeting coronavirus response.

For more information on this year’s Resilient Communities Fund or to apply, you can visit: ssen.co.uk/resiliencefund.


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